CFP: Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship

Call For Papers

Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Theory & Research


March 31, 2016

Embassy Suites by Hilton Downtown Portland

319 SW Pine Street, Portland, OR 97204


Deadline: January 22, 2016 for abstracts

In recent years, both business historians and entrepreneurship scholars have grown increasingly interested in the promise of using historical sources, methods and reasoning in entrepreneurship research. History, it has been argued, can be valuable in addressing a number of limitations in traditional approaches to studying entrepreneurship, including in accounting for contexts and institutions, in understanding the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic change, in providing multi-level perspectives on the entrepreneurial process and in situating entrepreneurial behavior and cognition within the flow of time. Support for historical research on entrepreneurship has grown, with both leading entrepreneurship researchers calling for the use of historical perspectives and with Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal announcing a call for papers for a special issue devoted to history and entrepreneurship.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide scholars with developmental feedback on work-in-progress related to historical approaches to entrepreneurship and strategy, broadly construed. Our aim is support the development of historical research on entrepreneurship for publication in leading journals, including for the special issue of Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. In addition to providing feedback and suggestions for specific topics, the workshop will address the commonly faced challenges of writing for a double-audience of historians and entrepreneurship/management scholars, engaging entrepreneurship theory and constructs, and identifying the most valuable historical sources and methods in studying entrepreneurial phenomena. We welcome work-in-progress at all stages of development. Interested scholars may submit two types of submissions for discussion: full research papers (8,000 to 12,000 words) or paper ideas (1,000 to 3,000 words).

The workshop will take place immediately before the BHC meeting and at the same location but is managed separately. Participation in BHC meeting and workshop is possible. If you have questions or are interested in participating, please submit an initial abstract of max. 300 words and a one-page CV before Friday, January 22, 2016 to David Kirsch (, Christina Lubinski ( or Dan Wadhwani ( Invitations to the PDW will be sent out before February 1, 2016. Full paper (8,000 to 12,000 words) and paper idea (1,000 to 3,000 words) submissions will be expected by Friday, March 11, 2015. Please feel free to contact the organizers with your paper ideas if you are interested in early feedback or want to inquire about the fit of your idea with this PDW.

The Broader Project

This workshop is part of a larger project that seeks to examine how analytical attention to history, context, and time may reshape theories of entrepreneurship as well as how these theories in turn allow us to re-consider how we account for agency, time and change in history. It follows on previous workshops in Copenhagen and Miami in 2014. The project seeks to develop an intellectual community comprised of both historians and entrepreneurship theorists engaged in multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research on entrepreneurial history. Some of the questions the broader project will address include:

  • What is the relationship between theories of history and theories of entrepreneurship? How have they shaped one another over time and what are the ways in which they do so today?
  • In what ways are time and context viewed in history and in entrepreneurship theory? How can more critical views of time and context contribute to our understanding of entrepreneurial behavior and the entrepreneurial process?
  • How do differences in methods matter to our understanding of entrepreneurship? Specifically, how should we think about the relationship between historians’ emphasis on deep context and narrative explanation and entrepreneurship researcher’s preference for valuing theoretical propositions from the point of view of advancing intellectual exchange between the two fields? What should we make of the tension between the theoretical inclination to gain insight through abstraction and the historical inclination to gain insight through contextualization? In what ways can the tension be productive or useful?
  • How does “history” or “the past” manifest itself in the entrepreneurial process? Is it constraining or enabling, and if “it depends,” then on what conditions does it depend? How is history “used” in the entrepreneurial process?
  • What is the relationship between narrative and history within the entrepreneurial process?
  • Can historical contextualization of the current moment (1970s-present) in entrepreneurship thought and practice help shed light on the present?
  • Can a deeper engagement with entrepreneurship theory allow us to understand the past in new ways and produce new history?

Individual and institutional support

The workshop and broader project is an initiative of the Copenhagen Business School’s Centre for Business History and Department of Management, Politics, and Philosophy in collaboration with scholars and institutions throughout Europe and North America. We are grateful for financial support from the Entrepreneurship Platform and the Rethinking History in Business Schools Initiative at CBS.